The expression of dual-specificity phosphatase 11 (DUSP11) is associated with tumor infiltration and overall survival rate in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, according to a new study published in Frontiers in Oncology. This was not the case for perihilar or distal cholangiocarcinoma. 

The researchers summarized that DUSP11 is an independent biomarker of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma that is indicative of a poor prognosis.

“Our results suggested that a high expression of DUSP11 was a post-operational risk factor, and detecting DUSP11 could guide the individual treatment for patients with [cholangiocarcinoma],” they wrote.

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Cholangiocarcinoma is an aggressive type of cancer with a very poor prognosis and no reliable biomarker. In this study, researchers from China led by Xu Che investigated whether DUSP11 expression could be a biomarker for it. 

They analyzed the expression of the enzyme in 8 pairs of intrahepatic, perihilar, and distal cholangiocarcinomas, and their corresponding adjacent tissues. They also investigated the expression of DUSP11 in 174 cholangiocarcinoma patients. Of these, 74 had intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, 64 had perihilar cholangiocarcinoma, and 36 had distal cholangiocarcinoma.

They found that DUSP11 expression was high in all subtypes of cholangiocarcinoma compared to their paired adjacent tissues. When they analyzed the expression of DUSP11 in each subtype, the researchers found that in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, DUSP11 expression was 44.59% higher. In perihilar cholangiocarcinoma, it was 53.85% higher, while in distal cholangiocarcinoma, it was 55.56% higher. 

In intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, high DUSP11 expression was significantly associated with an advanced stage and a poor prognosis. This was not the case for the 2 other subtypes of cholangiocarcinoma. 

DUSP11 is part of the dual-specificity protein phosphatase subfamily, which dephosphorylate their target kinases, thereby negatively regulating members of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase superfamily. The MAP kinase superfamily is associated with cellular proliferation and differentiation. DUSPs directly bind to RNA and splicing factors and likely engage in nuclear mRNA metabolism.


Xu L, Wang P, Zhang W, Li W, Liu T, Che X. Dual-specificity phosphatase 11 is a prognostic biomarker of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Front Oncol. 2021;29(11):757498. doi:10.3389/fonc.2021.757498

DUSP11 dual specificity phosphatase 11 [Homo sapiens (human)]. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Updated October 9, 2021. Accessed October 26, 2021.